The head of Football Supporters Europe has described UEFA’s ticketing policy for its Champions League and Europa League competitions as “terrible.”
The European football supporters’ group has hit out at the governing body, as it looks for UEFA to increase regulations on prices to stop clubs from inflated ticket costs for visiting fans.
For the upcoming Champions League semi-final, Liverpool supporters are being charged £73 to watch their club play against Roma. This comes after the Merseyside club had to pay £66 for its trip to Porto in the round of 16, which added up to triple the price that home fans paid.
“There is a general perception that if a club is rich, then its fans are rich,” Ronan Evain, the chief executive of Football Supporters Europe, told the Daily Telegraph.
“There is a belief that if a club has a huge support, then the share of fans who are able to afford expensive tickets is bigger.
“As British football is the richest in Europe, the fans of British clubs are regularly targeted. But we also have examples of fans from French and German clubs who have suffered from the same ticketing policy.”
UEFA regulations state the price of tickets for visiting teams must not exceed “the price paid for tickets of a comparable category that are sold to supporters of the home team”.
“Our argument is that if the clubs know they are going to sell everything in pre-sale, then they are in breach of UEFA regulations,” Evain added. “If the whole of the home section has access to the pre-sale prices, then the fans in the away sector are paying higher prices than the fans in the home sector. When 95 per cent of the stadium has a discount, this is not a discount any more.
“If they are not in breach then the regulation is too loose and is allowing too many loopholes. Clubs are getting smarter in the way they approach the UEFA regulations and these kind of terrible ideas are travelling pretty fast in European football.”
UEFA ordered Anderlecht to partially refund Bayern Munich fans back in February after the Bundesliga club was charged €100 (£87) for tickets.
Manchester United fans were charged €100 for their round-of-16 tie at Sevilla, which the club then subsidised by increasing the price for visiting supporters attending the second leg at Old Trafford.
A UEFA spokesman said: “Since the pricing strategy regarding ticketing is under the responsibility of the home club, our focus is on encouraging dialogue between the clubs to resolve any disputes or avoid any disagreements. Breaches of the regulations can result in disciplinary proceedings being opened.”